Recommend Me a Book....

My wife provides “support” to special-needs people. One of her clients is a profoundly autistic lady. She likes to be read to and go on drives.

My wife has been reading to her from Alice in Wonderland. The client seems to have gotten quite upset at some scenes. (Alice in a room that is shrinking was mentioned.)

So with those few clues, what books might work? I am thinking Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
(By the way, I went to some teen magazine and was impressed by the themes now covered in YA fiction. Drug abuse, teen pregnancy and so on. We are looking for something tamer.)

Charlie?? Wouldn’t the person freak at each of the bad-kid disposals??

I would think a nice serial set of stories, like Little House on the Prairie, or for adventurous stuff, maybe Nancy Drew??

Little House sounds just about perfect.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith is a series of detective books (18 of them so far); the series is named after the 1st book.

The main character is Mma Precious Ramotswe; at the start of the books she is 34 years old.

The author’s writing is described as ‘“deceptively simple” as he “writes in a clear, uncomplicated prose, yet his work is nonetheless insightful and perceptive. His humour is dry, charming and kind-hearted, revealing an author who is keenly observant without a trace of maliciousness.”’

The books have been adapted into a BBC TV series and, by the author, into a long-running radio series.

I have not read these books, but I found them by googling for “novels without conflict” and then cross-referencing for a female main character.

I Googled on several relevant phrases and Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke was mentioned by two different websites.

Thank you all. I have passed your fine recommendations along. Any other ideas?

You can’t do much better than the novels of P.G. Wodehouse. Always light-hearted and humorous. Guaranteed not to offend or upset.

I agree that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory might not be the best choice. It gets a little dark on occasion.

I bet the Thurber short stories would do well too.

Those are murder mysteries, so I would be cautious.

They might be too young, but the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace are charming and gentle.

Along the same lines as those and the Wilder books would be Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink (though it does have one tense section). Up a Road Slowly, by Irene Hunt. I don’t remember anything upsetting. Sarah, Plain and Tall, maybe too childish. The Anne of Green Gables books. If death is okay, A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-32.

From the Mixed-Up Files… by EL Konigsburg might work.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid has interpersonal conflict but no real tension.

Huge apologies if I’ve forgotten aspects of these books that would make them less suitable, though I have no doubt about the Betsy-Tacy books.

Her books-as-adults are, but Precious Ramotswe also has a series of books about her childhood. I’ve only read the cake one, and it’s pretty fun: nothing more violent than a missing cake occurs.

Paul, can you find out some books this woman has responded positively to? I’m guessing she’s nonverbal, but if she’s let folks know she enjoys being read to, some titles that have gone over well would help with recommendations.

Good to know!

Wind in the Willows perhaps?

The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norman Juster

The Four-Story Mistake, by Elizabeth Enright

And maybe some non-fiction? Does this woman have any specific interests?

If the lady doesn’t care for surrealist children’s lit, I’m not sure this is the world’s best recommendation :).

Seriously, until we know some things she HAS enjoyed, it’s gonna be hard to recommend something.

I was gonna say Little Women, but you know Beth dies and everything…

So then Charlotte’s Web came to mind, and I ruled that out for obvious reasons.

Maybe Stuart Little, Heidi, or Harriet the Spy, but really every good story has to have some kind of conflict or it isn’t a story.

Even Laura Ingalls has to contend with Nellie Olsen and her mother.

So I am thinking Old Yeller, The Yearling, and Where the Red Fern Grows are right out?

Y’all may not be picking up on the right thing here. Have y’all read Alice in Wonderland recently? It’s weird as hell, with bizarre violence in it (especially the scene with the baby and the pepper). This particular woman may not mind death, or she may. She may not mind violence, or she may. Getting upset over Alice in Wonderland may just mean that nightmarish weirdness isn’t her cuppa.

Anne of Green Gables?

Perhaps James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small? It’s basically a series of short stories, so if your wife reads ahead she can skip any chapters that she thinks might not be suitable.

All Creatures Great and Small is a wonderful idea. Thank you all. My wife has stopped by once or twice to read your wonderful ideas.

Maybe Fantastic Mr Fox or a different Dahl book.

Herriot sounds like an ideal choice. Not too dark or scary. I do wonder how The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Nighttime would go down.

While there are a lot of positive children’s stories, adult literature tends to be more dramatic and nuanced. Maybe sports stories, Harry Potter, Chicken Soup, Knights of the Round Table legends, non fiction books like Inside of a Dog?

Might depend on interests, reading level and degree of autistic spectrum?